“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not withe r— whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3 (NIV)
“Suzie, do you see that tree?” My friend, Vera, pointed out a massive tree that was dying. There were a few leaves trying to hang on, but dead branches were fractured and falling.
“We had such a hard summer,” she said. “That tree needed deeper roots…just like us.”
As we walked she shared that if our roots of faith are shallow in hard times and we aren’t nurtured spiritually, the heat could harm us.
Tree speak. It’s my friend’s language. She sees spiritual truths in all aspects of nature.
Funny, but as much as I wanted to see the same things she did, all I saw was a tree.
My friend, Vera, is now in a hard place. The heat is on. She has cancer.
And as I pray for her I am finding comfort in today’s key verse, Psalm 1:3. In it, a faithful woman (or man) is compared to a tree planted along a riverbank. The tree’s roots are so continually nourished that it bears fruit season in, and season out. The tree’s leaves never wither. Regardless of conditions outside the river, the tree flourishes. Just like my friend.
Vera had surgery. Chemotherapy. She lost her hair and, for awhile, she was very sick. But she didn’t lose her smile or her joy. She didn’t lose her faith. When she walked into church with a cheeky pink hat on her bald head, she reached for me with a huge hug.
Now, when I walk by trees that are strong, fruitful and offer shade, I think of Vera. She has taught me to learn from the trees.
We need to nourish our faith so that our roots will grow deep and strong. Maybe today you and I can get by with shallow roots, but where do we turn for truth and comfort when the sun is blazing or the storm is blowing?
Vera taught me that we are nurtured when we spend time reading the Bible and praying. We grow from small saplings with a limited knowledge of who God is into a mature woman of faith who can offer shade to those who come alongside us.
She also showed me how to bear fruit in all seasons. In the good and the bad. Vera’s deep roots have caused her to be strong and tall in a season that is anything but easy.
A few months ago I went for a walk by myself. I passed a tree. The leaves were changing colors to orange and vivid red and yellow. It was a show of God’s majesty after a summer that was bleak.
And I suddenly thought of Vera. I turned and made my way home, excited. I couldn’t wait to share the news with my beautiful friend. I had finally learned the beauty of tree speak.
Dear Lord, I nurture my body with food. I nurture myself with rest. But often I fail to nurture my spirit with Your presence. Help me to place my roots deep in You daily, and grow strong and be fruitful, no matter the season. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By T. Suzanne Eller